"I don't say this often, but this organization speaks to the needs of this city right now. Increasing graduation rates is a number one goal of mine. We need to focus on that. Martha O'Bryan does that. It's a wonderful organization. So as we celebrate being one of the best cities in America, remember - our strength comes from taking care of those most in need."
New initiative supports families by supporting fathers
Thanks to a new, federally funded initiative, the Martha O'Bryan Center will help provide fathers in Nashville with the skills, knowledge and support they need to become more positively involved in the lives of their children.
LaMont Doty joins the staff of the Martha O'Bryan Center to serve as Lead Site Coordinator for the New Life Program – “A Place Where Fathers Matter." The three-year grant ($1.6 million each year) will fund the four components of the program: responsible parenting workshops, healthy marriage and relationship workshops, economic stability resources, and a media campaign.
Trinidad Jackson, Lead Facilitator with the Metro Nashville Public Health Department, will facilitate the workshops with Doty. Workshops are tentatively scheduled to begin in June.
The New Life Program is a program of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Administration for Children and Families, which awarded the $4.8 million grant to Metro Nashville Public Health.
Other community partners include Matthew Walker's McGruder Family Resource Center and Metro Parks' Hadley Park Community Center, Pencil Foundation. The effort is aimed at East and North Nashville, which have the highest concentrations of single mothers with children under age 18.
The Early Learning Center is celebrating the results from its Pre-K pupils, as 100% of students tested passed two of three national assessments used to measure reading ability.
The tests are part of the "Read to Succeed" program, which is supported by the United Way. Twenty-eight students were tested individually in the fall and again in the spring.
All of the ELC students passed the first test, which measures print awareness, such as knowing what part of a book is the cover; and the second test, which tests for rhyming, picture naming and alliteration.
"Outcomes in national assessments are not everything we measure in an ELC demographic like ours, of course, because so much happens that is not reflected in the scores," said Literacy Coach Yeama Sow. "However, when we do 'make the grade,' we prove that our work is making the difference no matter what the standards or obstacles."
The third assessment measures 7 areas from name writing to letter recognition, and 91% of the students tested passed.
"I think what's important to note is that the benchmark is not set by us; it's set by the United Way," said Traci Bryant, Manager of the Early Learning Center. "The benchmark is that number, that evidence that demonstrates we have a successful program, and 100% of of our students reached that benchmark."
More than 3,000 guests are expected to stroll the lawn at Nashville's First Presbyterian Church to sample hundreds of gallons of homemade ice cream during Purity Miss Martha's Ice Cream Crankin' & Summer Social. The local summertime tradition, now in its 27th year, will be held from 3-5 p.m. on June 10.
Home cooks from all over Middle Tennessee are expected to participate in the contest. Each contestant will submit a quart of homemade ice cream to compete in at least one of three categories: chocolate base, vanilla base and "other." The winner from each category competes for the “best of show,” which will be produced next year into a new Purity ice cream flavor, available wherever Purity ice cream is sold.
The competition judges are Purity representatives, ice cream industry specialists and local celebrities. All proceeds benefit Martha O'Bryan Center.
In addition to the ice cream contest, hundreds of volunteers will make ice cream to be served to more than 3,000 guests expected to attend the event. Live music and children's activities, including the Frist Children's Tent and bounce houses, make the Crankin' a fun event for the whole family.
"The Ice Cream Crankin' has been a unique Nashville tradition for years and is just a wonderful way to enjoy a summer day with family," said Charles Barrett, who is co-chair of the 2012 Crankin' with his wife, Elizabeth. "It's fun for parents, kids love it, and most importantly, supports the Martha O'Bryan Center, which provides life-changing services for our fellow Nashvillians living in poverty."